Human rights group says Israeli police fail to protect Palestinians

Most families in Fasayil al-Wusta, a community in the West Bank town of Jericho, are subjected to violence besides living in sub-standard conditions.

The majority of residents are Bedouin who settled in Fasayil al-Wusta in 1998, after being displaced from Tel Arad in the Negev desert by Israeli authorities in the 1940s and 50s.

Residents complain that incidents on violence by settlers are on the rise and the police does little to address the issue.

A local shepherd Ayyash Mahmoud said 200 cows from his herd were killed and he blames a settlement guard for their death. He doesn’t have much hope that his situation will improve as long as the Israeli military’s civil administration maintains complete control of building permits.

“Our pregnant cows were going back to the community areas. The settler (settlement guard) started to shoot at the cows. My children saw him and they started to shout at him. He came at them so they ran away. They called me and I was in Nablus. I returned to the area, my brother and I called the vet and the Israeli police. We showed them the bullets and where the cows were shot; the cows were all pregnant,” said Ayyash.

An Israeli police spokesperson said that necessary security measures are being enforced around the West Bank, and investigations are being conducted on reported incidents of violence.

“When I went to check on my complaint, the Israeli police told me that they were still investigating it. They knew who committed the crime, a settler from the El’Fasail settlement but they stopped the investigation and closed the file,” said Ayyash.

Israeli human rights group Yesh Din works to protect human rights in the occupied territories. It released a report on the investigations of crimes committed by settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank.

“What we have learned over the course of the last few years in monitoring these incidents is that Palestinians who filed a complaint against a suspected Israeli settler in the occupied territories for harming the person or the property, have nearly 90 percent for these investigation to be failed,” said head of the Research Department at Yesh Din, Lior Yavne.

The report followed 781 cases between 2005 and March 2012 and the majority of violence was attributed to stone-throwing, knife assaults, and beatings; 38 incidents involved violence targeted at livestock.

“Israel has a duty under the international law to protect Palestinians and their property from violence committed by Israeli civilians. Unfortunately, what we see over the years is the fact that Israel fails to protect Palestinians and fails to indict settlers involved in such crimes,” Yavne added.

Fasayil al-Wusta is located in “Area C” which encompasses 60 percent of the West Bank and is in total control of Israel.

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